FLIP REPORT: John flipped the remaining cards for the second contestant eight down. The panel had identified this contestant as a pilot of some sort, but they never came around to making the exact identification of "test pilot." John flipped the remaining cards for the final contestant at seven down as time ran out. Following the usual custom at this point, John dispensed with the opening panel walk-by for this final game. And, in an unusual move at the end of the program, John flipped the whole set of cards to signify that the first contestant, his secretary, had won the full prize, stating that he didn't want to get in trouble. For the record, that game ended at two down when the panel won the game by making the correct identification. - agent_0042 (2008)
(1) "WML?" SPONSOR AND PANEL INTRODUCTION WATCH: The main sponsor's panel desk billboard this evening reads "Remington Rand Typewriters." And after two weeks where Dorothy was introduced with the very short description of "The popular Broadway columnist," this week, the announcer has resumed with the longer introduction of "The popular Broadway columnist whose 'Voice of Broadway' appears in papers from coast to coast." It should be noted that for the last few episodes, GSN has truncated the "WML?" openings to the extent that the shows come in at the point where the animated jack-in-the-boxes holding each word ("WHAT'S," "MY," "LINE?") are going back into their respective boxes.
(2) "WML?" OVERLAY FONT WATCH: The second contestant's overlay of "Rocket Plane Test Pilot - U.S. Air Force" was set in the "last-minute" font; all other overlays, including that for first-time mystery guest Harry Belafonte, were set in the regular Kabel Heavy.
(3) "DON'T STOP THE CARNIVAL": Tonight's show, the first without the nameplate holders for mystery guests on the panel moderator's desk (or the splotch on the wood in front of the guest's chair), marks the first appearance of singer and actor Harry Belafonte. Between now and EPISODE #803 of February 13, 1966, the man who popularized calypso music in the latter half of the 1950's was on the show a total of six times -- four, including tonight, as a mystery guest, and two as a guest panelist. In fact, his first guest panelist appearance, on EPISODE #568 of June 11, 1961, marked the first time in "WML?'s" history that an African-American had sat on the panel.
(4) "COME MR. TALLY-MAN, TALLY ME BANANA": It was a year from tonight's show, in 1956, that Mr. Belafonte's music career would be defined for all time with the release of the album "Calypso" (RCA Victor LPM-1248), which featured such now-classic tunes as "Jamaica Farewell" (also on single #20-/47-6663) "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)" (also on 20-/47-6783; an earlier version had been released on 20-/47-4892) and perhaps his most famous hit of all, "The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)" (also on 20-/47-6771), which reached a new audience when it was included in the 1988 film "Beetlejuice." The album was Number One on the LP charts for a staggering 31 weeks, while being on the charts in general for 99 weeks; it was the first million-selling album by a single artist. "Calypso's" success also inspired the name of the folk group (and future "WML?" mystery guests) The Kingston Trio, which was derived from the capitol of the home of calypso, Jamaica.
(5) "WML?" CREDITS CRUNCH WATCH: Tonight's show inaugurated a new art card for American Airlines, only showing the company's logo. This will be on all "WML?" shows up to the end of 1956. Not surprisingly, this led to the production crew credits being truncated, cutting off after that for executive producer Gil Fates. Just as unsurprisingly, GSN still trod forth with its egregious, embittering and execrable habit of "crunching" the screen on its August 17, 2008 airing of this episode.
(6) GSN's August 17, 2008 airing of tonight's show was followed by the April 21, 1953 edition of "The Name's the Same," hosted by Robert Q. Lewis, with the panel consisting this time of Jackie Cooper, Joan Alexander and Meredith Willson, and Diana Lynn as the celebrity guest. - W-B (2008)
NAMEPLATES: For all the times that John put the mystery guest's name in upside down, or not at all, or left it there long after they'd left, it wouldn't surprise me a bit if he asked for the whole business to be dropped. - stopette (2005)
SINGH ALSO ON "TTTT" - We add yet another name to the list of contestants that have appeared on multiple classic G-T game shows, as tonight's WML contestant Kirpal Singh will later turn up on the 1/28/1960 episode of "To Tell the Truth." - Kevin (2005)
THE LOOK OF THINGS: The dark splotch mark has finally been cleaned off the wood in front of the guest's chair at John Daly's desk. We've been looking at that dark smudge since EPISODE #226 of September 26, 1954. In addition, the two name plaque holders have also been removed, but you can still see the screw holes and indentations in the wood. Mystery guest name plaques are no longer used. Now, the mystery guests are identified through the use of white overlay screens, which is a definite improvement. - Suzanne (2005)
KIRPAL SINGH is also a contestant on WML EPISODE #590 of November 26, 1961. More notes about him on that episode guide. - Suzanne (2005)
HARRY BELAFONTE, who signed in with an acute accent over the "e" in his surname, Belafonté, promoted his appearance at the Empire Room of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in NYC. In addition, John mentioned Belafonte's first dramatic performance on the 1953-1962 television series, "General Electric Theater." On this very day, November 6, 1955, he appeared in an episode titled "Winner by Decision" with co-star Ethel Waters. - Suzanne (2005)
JOSEPH S. HARTMANN of Wisconsin founded the Hartmann Trunk Company in 1877. In 1955, the American fine leather suitcase company was sold to Benjamin S. Katz. In 2005, Hartmann Luggage is currently owned by Brown-Forman, Inc. Kirpal Singh probably appeared in an advertisement, although John did not specifically state this. He only mentioned that Mr. Singh appeared in Life magazine, in connection with this product, wearing his turban. - Suzanne (2005)
REVIEW: This was a fairly fun episode where the panel batted .500 for the night. In the first game, John looked as if he were fighting long and hard from spilling the beans about the fact that the first contestant was his secretary. For the record, Bennett had no trouble in making the correct guess. John probably gave too much away by purposely calling her by the wrong name, "Lila Ebsen," which is something he is not prone to doing. In the second game, the panel got as far as figuring out that the contestant was a test pilot. However, they never did figure out that he flew rocket planes, so he won the full prize. In the mystery guest round, Dorothy correctly identified Harry Belafonte, who pretty much had the panel on the run with his faux Irish accent. He was on the show to promote his engagement at the Waldorf. In the final game, the panel was totally stumped by the civilian marine engineer, so he too won $50 by default. At the close of the show, John explained that he didn't want to be in trouble with his secretary, so he flipped over all the cards to award her a "post-game" win of $50. - Sargebri (2005)
Fred mentioned Martin Gabel's then current play, "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter." The play would be made into a motion picture two years later starring future WML frequent guest panelist, Tony Randall. Ironically, Martin and Tony ranked first and second in number of guest panelist appearances, with 112 and 62 respective guest panelist stints. Both men will start appearing on the show on a semi-regular basis in the post Fred Allen era. - Sargebri (2005)
Tidbits: Although he mistakenly said "Lyceum Theatre" instead of the correct "Belasco Theatre," Fred announced that Arlene's husband, Martin Gabel, is appearing in the Broadway play "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter." Arlene laughingly corrected him. (2005)
Panel: Dorothy Kilgallen, Fred Allen, Arlene Francis, Bennett Cerf.